Olivier Foulon & Alexander Lieck | Wem der Tarnfleck steht

2 March until 29 March 2018


Duet exhibitions tend to start with the same sorting process: which piece belongs to each artist, who is responsible for what and how do those different variables correlate to each other. In other words, how can the dialogue commence?

The pieces Olivier Foulon and Alexander Lieck present at their current project for Clages Gallery titled “Wem der Tarnfleck steht”, continuing their collaboration presented in Joseph Tang’s space in Paris a few months prior, distort that kind of conventional dialectic approach and play with the very idea of a distinct artistic presence. The Artists aren’t really present in two clearly separate positions; perhaps they aren’t really present at all to begin with. They turned their backs, walked away, closed the door and never looked back, only to disappear into nothing but thin air, forever erased from history. An idea, which of course bares the following question: why? Are they simply not needed anymore, or is it maybe that their absence has a lot more to show than expected? And what kind of traces, if any, did they leave for us behind?

The first room showcases a series of photographs documenting a performance piece by René Pollesch in Berlin. The same picture replicated 11 times in total takes its rightful place at the white gallery walls, each neatly separated from the other, hanging on eyesight level and creating a clear line running through the whole room. Standing in the center one almost feels like a distorted panorama looks down upon oneself, engaging in a clever game of perspectives and reality perceptions. Making his way through the second exhibition room the viewer is confronted with canvases in a variety of sizes and colors, completed with a text about the unbearable lightness of being a painter.

What strikes as a vital component of the show are the witty critical commentaries about the fabric of painting itself. A huge question, that has tormented art historical and theoretical discourses for decades now, comes back to life and opens up to new inter-media perspectives about how we approach and engage with contemporary art. Whether a painting, a photograph, an object, a performance, an (un-) readymade or just „words to be looked at“; the way the duo articulates their position goes back and forth, resisting and at the same time questioning definitions and expectations of the medium. Almost like a conceptualized game of hide and seek, that gives away some clues and challenges the viewer with contradictions and ironies in order to unveil who hides underneath the camouflage.

Olivier Foulon and Alexander Lieck staged an intricate game of false impressions, a carefully put together lie about the histories, processes and medium-specific understandings around the act of painting. A way to finally put that horrid “New Laokoon”-ghosts back into their graves, and open up a new multidimensional field of discussion about, and through, our media predispositions and receptions, bringing together ghosts from the past with dreams for the future.


Haris Giannouras